Jean-Paul’s Rating: 2/5 stars
Bottom Line: A fair to middling Liam Neeson movie with just enough entertainment to keep you engaged until the wheels come off near the end.
Some movies have this great premise that sounds like a good idea on paper, but once you start exploring the premise you find there’s not much there. Sometimes, you still decide to make the movie because you’ve got Liam freakin’ Neeson as the headliner. Thus “Non-Stop” was made.
The first and second acts of the movie are fairly engaging. Act one introduces us to alcoholic air marshal Bill Marks (Liam Neeson), a no nonsense, leave me alone type of man with a soft heart that peeks out every once in a while. The movie very effectively portrays this through a series of encounters with passengers that Bill runs into while navigating through the airport on his way to his assigned plane. Since the majority of the film is going to be shot on a tube containing 150 passengers, this was a very clever way of introducing all the major players as the story unfolds.
The story unfolds in act two as a mysterious person on the plane starts texting Bill letting him know that a person is going to die every 20 minutes unless $150 million is deposited in a bank account. What follows is a just plausible enough series of events where passenger after passenger does indeed die as foretold. There is some suspension of disbelief required for this portion of the film, but it is still enjoyable as Bill tries to ferret out the hidden hijacker and turns his suspicions from one passenger to the next.
Things fall off the rails pretty quickly in act three as the evil doer is revealed and describes a motive that can only be described as laughable and which calls into question all of the previous incidents in the second act that were passable assuming the foe was at all intelligent or sane. The movie ends with the bad guys getting what they deserve and a harrowing plane landing Bill saving the life of a little girl thrown in just for…something.
There are a few things that I think would have saved this film from sub-mediocrity. Number one on the list would be some sort of grander conspiracy than the ridiculous plot that unfolded. Something that tied the hijacking to events occurring off the airplane. Number two would be if they went completely the other direction and actually made Bill the hijacker. This would not have been as difficult as it sounds since there was a question as to whether that were true pretty far into the movie. Number three would be if there were mother-fucking snakes on this mother-fucking plane.